Local 856 members fight against worker misclassification at the state capitol

“When we fight, we win!” chanted hundreds of people outside the State Capitol on Wednesday, July 10th. Amongst those people were seventeen Local 856 members, who joined other working people, unions, and organizations in the effort to pass Assembly Bill 5 (AB5).

Teamsters turned out in force to lobby legislators to pass Assembly Bill 5 on July 10, 2019 at the California State Capitol.

Last year, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Dynamex Operations West vs. the Superior Court of California, that made it more difficult for employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors. The court looked at the harm to workers, law-abiding businesses, and the state from worker misclassification and determined that all parties benefit from a clear and protective test of employment status, known as the “ABC Test.”

When workers are misclassified as independent contractors, they do not have minimum wage or overtime protections, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, anti-harassment and discrimination protections, or the right to organize and bargain collectively.

If passed, AB5 would broaden the Dynamex decision’s impact across the state by more clearly defining and codifying who qualifies as an independent contractor and who should be classified as employees.

“It’s very clear that everybody should have rights to workers’ compensation and things of this nature,” said Dan Johnston, a United Airlines Teamsters 856 shop steward.

Workers of all different trades suffer from misclassification, but perhaps the most prolific example are Uber and Lyft drivers. Paul Dodge, a United Airlines Teamster 856 shop steward, has a son who has been an Uber driver for over three years. “Right now, he’s in Bolivia with my wife getting dental work done because he couldn’t get it done here,” Dodge said to Senator Nancy Skinner outside of her office. “He doesn’t have any medical insurance, he doesn’t have any dental insurance, he doesn’t have any of those types of things. He went through two years of suffering with terrible pain in his mouth because he couldn’t afford it.”

The misclassification of one worker’s job threatens the job security of all workers, including those who are unionized. This is why we say #YesOnAB5.

Special thanks to the members who attended the lobby day:

Lisa Day-Silva – Member Organizer
Paul Dodge – United Airlines
Steve Crummey – United Airlines
John Johnson – United Airlines
Dan Johnston – United Airlines
Mark Jones – Contra Costa County
Abnesh Kishore – Contra Costa County
John Laurin – United Airlines
Tracy MacCorkell – United Airlines
Dale Mitchell – United Airlines
Ralph Ortiz – United Airlines
Greg Sullivan – United Airlines
Lucero Torres – Contra Costa County
Shaune Vaughn – Delta Dental
Tracey Walker – Contra Costa County
Debbie Ward-Crummey – United Airlines
Fred Wood – United Airlines